SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Information about a San Francisco serial killer dubbed “the Doodler” remains elusive and police are increasing reward money to catch him.
The San Francisco Police Department’s cold case investigators said the Doodler murdered at least six men between 1974 and 1975. He would target and meet his victims at gay nightclubs, engage in sexual relations, kill them, and dump their bodies outdoors on San Francisco’s west side, investigators said.
One victim who was attacked and escaped told police that the suspect was doodling before the assault. “The suspect was drawing animal figures on a napkin. The suspect commented to the victim that he was attending art school and was studying to be a cartoonist. The victim believed the suspect to be skillful in drawing as he himself had a background in art,” SFPD wrote.
Police identified a suspect, but no arrests were made. Victims’ bodies were found in Ocean Beach, Land’s End, and Lincoln Park.
SFPD identified six victims slain by the Doodler as:
- Gerald Cavanaugh, 49, found 1/27/74 at Ocean Beach
- Joseph Stevens, 27, found 6/25/74 in Golden Gate Park
- Klaus Christmann, 31, found 7/7/74 at Ocean Beach
- Warren Andrews, 52, found 4/27/75 at Land’s End
- Frederick Capin, 32, found 5/12/75 at Ocean Beach
- Harald Gullberg, 66, found 6/4/75 at Lincoln Park
On Tuesday, the San Francisco Police Department announced it increased the reward, from $200,000 to $250,000, for information leading to the identification, apprehension, and conviction of the Doodler.
“The SFPD Homicide Detail is actively working this cold case investigation,” police wrote.
The surviving victim gave police a physical description of the suspect to a forensic sketch artist. The Doodler was Black, between 19-25 years old at the time of the homicides, and 6-feet-tall, according to police.
On Tuesday, police summarized what cold case detectives have pieced together.
SFPD wrote, “In July 1975, two different attacks on gay Caucasian males occurred within two weeks of each other in the Fox Plaza Apartments. Both of the victims who were attacked lived on the same floor but did not know each other. It was determined by homicide inspectors at the time that there was a connection between the attacks at/near Ocean Beach and the attacks at the Fox Plaza Apartments. One of the survivors from the Fox Plaza attacks had met the suspect after the bars closed in July of 1975 at the Truck Stop diner near Market/Church St. The suspect was drawing animal figures on a napkin. The suspect commented to the victim that he was attending art school and was studying to be a cartoonist. In October 1975, this survivor who spent the most significant amount of time with the suspect was able to provide homicide inspector’s with specific suspect information which generated a composite of the suspect who committed the two attacks in the Fox Plaza.”
SFPD wrote, “Soon after the initial suspect sketch was released, an anonymous phone call was made by a female to SFPD. This anonymous caller provided police with a name and a vehicle plate of a suspect. This female called twice within 10 days. We are looking to identify this caller. After this caller contacted SFPD it is believed that at least two different people also contacted SFPD providing the same suspect name. We would also want to speak with these individuals.”
The person named by the callers “was considered a strong suspect” and “is still the focus of our investigation in 2023,” police wrote.
Detectives believe there may be more surviving victims who could have crucial information for finally cracking the case.
If you have any information regarding these homicides and attacks, you are urged to contact Cold Case Investigators Tom Newland at 415 553-1144, Dominic Celaya at 415 553-9856, Daniel Dedet at 415 553-1450, or Daniel Cunningham at 415 553-9515.